Welcome Laura Renken to the 2017 summer staff team! Laura hails from Hamel, Illinois and is a member of Salem UCC in Alhambra, where she sings in the praise team choir. She has also served as a Vacation Bible School volunteer for at least the last 5 years. Laura attended summer camp at DuBois Center for a number of years. She completed our Counselors in Training (CIT) Program in 2014 and last summer volunteered as a cabin counselor.
When not at camp, Laura is student at Eastern Illinois University where she is studying elementary education. She also works at the front desk of her dorm. Her favorites include: smell – spearmint, color – sky blue, food – tacos, and she loves to sing.
Her favorite childhood memories include summers swimming at her grandparents’ and coming to camp. “I loved coming to Camp DuBois growing up, and it was always a dream of mine to work here when I got older. I always felt that this was a place of love and acceptance where I could really be myself. I wanted to have the opportunity to make Camp DuBois that place for other people as well. I am excited to make memories with everyone and to be a part of such a loving community. I am excited to get to know my campers and to play games and sing songs. I am excited that God has granted me the opportunity to work in a place that means so much to me.”
Welcome Olivia Cruthis to DuBois Center’s 2017 summer staff team! Olivia is an avid swimmer, lifeguard and horse lover – all helpful traits when serving as a Counselor /Activity Specialist. She is from Lebanon, Illinois and is a DuBois Center veteran, attending summer camp for nine years, including our CIT – Counselor in Training program in 2014. Last summer, Olivia returned to volunteer as a camp counselor.
A student at Illinois College, she is majoring in secondary English education, with a music and theatre minor. She is also on the swimming and diving teams there. Olivia loves gymnastics, reading, artistic endeavors and Mexican food. It’s not unusual to find her singing (perhaps even screaming) and dancing to Disney tunes in her dorm room.
An active member of St. John UCC in Mascoutah, Olivia credits Rachael Berth, Minister of Youth and Christian Education, with nurturing her on her faith journey. “[She] has inspired me since she walked into my life when I was a freshman in high school; we were in the church choir together. She has helped me strengthen my relationship with God as well as help me find who I truly am.”
Olivia can’t wait to spend the summer “praising God with all the kids and staff.” She applied for the position because she loved camp so much as a kid, and as she got older, she saw the impact that the DuBois staff had on the campers and she wanted “to be a part of this amazing group of people.”
Welcome Catie Goetter to our 2017 summer staff team! Catie will be serving as a Barn Assistant / Counselor. She grew up in Maryville, IL as an active member of St. John Evangelical UCC and is no stranger to DuBois Center. She attended summer camp for years. During the school year, weekend horse retreat and volunteering at the barn kept her busy. In 2015, she successfully completed our CIT (Counselor in Training) program, and in 2016 she volunteered for four weeks of summer camp.
When asked about a goofy camp memory Catie wrote, “My parents sent me to camp when I was 7 for a half week session thinking they would pick me up never wanting to go back. When they got to camp to pick me up, I was hiding in the bathroom of Lakeside because I didn’t want to leave.”
Catie attends Missouri State University where she is majoring in special education. She is actively involved in student ministry and marching band. Marching season is her favorite season! She also volunteers with a therapeutic riding program. Catie is very excited to be a member of our 2017 Summer Staff, she says she “can’t imagine [her] life without spending the summer at DuBois.” Catie’s favorite thing about summer camp is “getting to see the campers grow from the beginning of the week to the end whether it was just coming out of their shell or trying something new or something they were scared of, like canoeing or horseback riding!” She is also very excited to be on staff with old camp friends, to make new camp friends and work alongside her older brother, Ryan.
Welcome Grace (Gracie) Allen to DuBois Center’s 2017 summer staff team! She will be serving as Counselor/Activity Specialist. Gracie lives in Maeystown, IL where she is an active member of St. John UCC and a PK (Pastor’s Kid). Gracie is new to our staff, but not to DuBois Center. She has attended Winter Weekends with her church and served as a summer camp volunteer. She has also participated in our Buddy to Buddy Mission Experience a number of times, working with young people from the residential program in Hoyleton.
Gracie loves to sing and perform in community theater productions. These talents, as well as her unique ability to sound like Chewbacca, will be put to good use at camp. Gracie is currently working part-time and studying for her associate degree in education at SWIC (Southwestern Illinois College). Her references all agree; she is kind, very responsible and has a great attitude. Gracie is very excited to be serving at DuBois Center this summer. When asked why she said, “When I had volunteered I had loved every aspect of camp… I am most excited about helping kids have a great time…”
Welcome, Ryan Goetter, to our 2017 team! This will be his third season on summer staff. Ryan grew up near Collinsville IL, an avid member of his high school band and active member of St. John Evangelical UCC. He attended summer camp at DuBois Center for many years, including our C.I.T. (Counselors in Training) program in 2013. While in high school, Ryan volunteered as a teacher for 4-H groups. That experience has proven to be valuable as DuBois Center began partnering with 4-H of Southern Illinois for their summer camp program. This summer, Ryan will be coordinating our staff team for that endeavor. In addition to serving as a Counselor/Activity Specialist for DuBois Center, Ryan also counsels for Camp Phoenix, the summer camp for the Episcopal Dioceses of Missouri.
Ryan is a student at Missouri State University where he studies Instrumental Music Education. This has given him even more experience working with youth through practicum credit hours. On campus, Ryan works in the business office of the medical clinic and is actively involved in Lambda Chi Alpha. He is the Director for Drug and Alcohol Awareness for the MSU chapter of FSLSA (Fraternity and Sorority Leaders of Social Awareness).
Ryan is passionate about summer camp – from the magical “escape from the real world” to the wacky songs and the spirit-filled worship circles. The wonderful, often off-beat, interactions with campers and the enduring friendships with fellow staff members – he loves it all!
Introducing Meredith Ellis, one of our returning Counselor/Activity Specialists! Meredith grew up in Glen Carbon, IL and is an active member of Troy United Methodist Church. She first came to DuBois Center for summer camp with a friend when she was in the sixth grade. She instantly loved it and returned year after year as a camper. In 2013, she participated in our CIT (Counselor in Training) program and then volunteered the next year. She dedicated the summer of 2016 to serving on our summer staff.
She has “wanted to be a counselor ever since [she] was a camper” and had an amazing experience in that role last summer. She is looking forward to “being back in such a beautiful place” and seeing her past campers again! Meredith’s experience, beyond camp, includes working with family programs and teaching youth tennis lessons at the YMCA. When not at camp, Meredith studies Political Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. At school, she is a student worker at her university library and is involved in campus ministry, a campus sexual assault education program and Alpha Delta Pi. In her free time she likes to read and drink tea. Welcome Meredith to our 2017 summer staff team!